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This article is about the New Zealand town of Bluff. For alternate meanings, see Bluff (disambiguation)

Bluff is a town and seaport located in the Southland region on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

The town is at the end of a peninsula which forms the western side of Bluff Harbour and Awarua Bay, with the port located in the relatively narrow entrance channel. Bluff is on State Highway 1, which terminates one kilometre to the south of the town at Stirling Point. Bluff is 30 km by road from Invercargill. Bluff is also the southern terminus of the South Island Main Trunk Railway .

Contrary to a popular misconception, Bluff is not the southernmost point on the New Zealand mainland. That honour goes to Slope Point, some 50 km east of Bluff. It is, however, the southernmost town in the South Island.

According to the 2001 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings the usually resident population was 1935, a decrease of 150 since 1996.

Among the attractions of the town is the Paua house, created by the (now deceased) Fred and Myrtle Flutey. This house was an ordinary bungalow transformed by having the outside walls totally covered in paua shells. The interior is also extensively decorated with paua and there is an extensive collection of (often kitsch) paua-decorated ornaments, utensils and trinkets. The house is now a museum.

Bluff is dominated by Bluff Hill, an extinct volcanic cone which provides some shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. Across the channel from Bluff is Tiwai Point, home to New Zealand's only aluminium smelter and its wharf.

Bluff Harbour is the terminus for the twice-daily catamaran ferry to Stewart Island located 60 km south across Foveaux Strait. The harbour is also home to the Foveaux Strait oyster fleet. Bluff oysters are renowned for their succulence and flavour, and are considered a delicacy nationwide. Unfortunately the oyster quota was severely reduced during the late 1990s due to the effects of the toxic protozoan parasite Bonamia ostreae upon the oyster beds.

Shibboleth: Although most New Zealanders simply know the town as Bluff, true locals always refer to it as The Bluff.

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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04